They’ve filled and thrilled the Arlington for Arts & Lectures before, and Pink Martini (PM) will do it again when they arrive this Thursday for a concert featuring guest vocalist Storm Large. The Martini’s unique approach and repertoire of classic songs from many decades, languages, and cultures have made them favorites among the cosmopolitan set in Santa Barbara, so go expecting to see a broad range of ages and a diverse crowd of international sophisticates. And don’t be shy when getting dressed for the occasion. Pink Martini specializes in creating the kind of elegantly festive atmosphere that suggests “cocktails at the embassy, evening attire, RSVP.”
For those who are already serious Pink Martini imbibers, there may be slight trepidation at the fact that this tour is taking place without original PM vocalist China Forbes. Fortunately, I have good news on two fronts in that regard. In conversation with band leader Thomas Lauderdale last week, I learned that Forbes, who has been recovering from vocal-cord surgery, is healthy enough to have sung at a private party with the band this month, even though she’s not quite ready to go back on the group’s current (and strenuous) tour. “She sounds great,” said Lauderdale of Forbes, “and she’ll be back.” He then went on to extol the virtues of Large, who will sing with Pink Martini here. “At first, we were nervous about whether it would go over live with anyone but China,” said Lauderdale, “but it really has been much more than okay with Storm. I have never had so much fun with anyone on the road. Storm is so intelligent, she’s such a hard worker, and onstage, she is ready to give you absolutely everything at every moment.” And absolutely everyone should get out to hear her sing, as she pounces on such Pink Martini staples as “Brazil” with amazing ferocity and conviction.
For even more, be sure to check out the two new albums Pink Martini’s released this month: 1969 is a collaboration effort with Saori Yuki, the woman Lauderdale calls “the Japanese Barbra Streisand,” while A Retrospective is a long overdue greatest-hits collection.
Pink Martini plays the Arlington Theatre (1317 State St.) on Thursday, November 10, at 8 p.m. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.